Category Archives: Caribbean Plus Lit News

Literary news of interest from the Caribbean and wider world

Antiguan and Barbudan Author and Wadadli Pen Founder/Co-Ordinator on Young Adult Literature Panel at the Sharjah International Book Fair

“Sharjah 24: Young adult literature dominates bookstores these days. While the genre only began to gain momentum in the 1970s and ‘80s, but it has definitely gone through a growth spurt since then.

Deliberating on the topic was Science Fiction Writer Noura Al Nouman, and author of Ajwan, and Antiguan and Caribbean writer Joanne C Hillhouse whose penned several books in this genre like, The Boy from Willow Bend.

While the discussion reflected on concerns surrounding the current reading patterns among children and young adults, it also touched on the overriding influence of the digital media. While today’s teens have come of age with smartphones in their pocket, compared to teens a couple of decades ago, its equally true that the way they interact with traditional media like books and movies is fundamentally different.

Sharing her thoughts on the issue was Joanne who said, “Internet to video games, there is a lot more that’s pulling children’s attention now. If you find the right story, then any young person would be inclined to sit there and take it in, because film, television, movies, video games they are all stories and I am yet to meet a child who doesn’t like stories”.

(Read the full article at Sharjah24.ae Also read at the official SIBF websiteGulf  News and UAE News).

Joanne also visited the Gulf Model School (pictured below first with the principal then with the students) and participated in a panel on the New Daughters of Africa book with editor Margaret Busby and co-contributor Ella Wakatama Allfrey (third picture below):

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Carib Plus Lit News (Early November 2019)

Happy Independence, Antigua and Barbuda.

Original Posting November 1st 2019>and on November 2nd ETA SX Salon & Womanspeak.

The WomenSpeak Project in Trinidad and Tobago teams with the Institute for Gender and Development for ‘Write to Speak’

The WomenSpeak Project in partnership with The Institute for Gender and Development Studies invite you to register for the “Write to Speak” spoken word workshop for women. In this workshop participants will be exposed to the tools for developing their style through poetry: exploring verbal fluency, finding and projecting their unique voice, transforming memory into an intentional story, characterization, and the basics to writing a poem. Participants will have the opportunity to work individually and in groups to explore advocacy and prepare their very own spoken word piece with facilitator Alyea Pierce, a spoken word poet and Fulbright-National Geographic Storytelling Fellow. Write to Speak will be held on November 16th 2019 at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the UWI, St. Augustine. Contact womenspeakproject@gmail.com for more information.

SX Salon Number 31 is Now Available Online

With this issue, SX Salon transitions editors, with Rachel L. Mordecai taking on the role of SX Salon editor and Ronald Cummings taking on the role of book review editor. Vanessa K. Valdés and Kelly Baker Josephs will both still be part of the larger Small Axe Project, but are leaving SX Salon in Rachel’s and Ron’s hands. A special discussion section of Issue 31 (focused on online publishing) is guest-edited by outgoing editor Kelly Baker Josephs and outgoing book review editor Vanessa K. Valdés. The pieces collected in this section include reflective essays by Peter James Hudson of The Public Archive, by Vanessa K. Valdés, and by Jyothi Natarajan of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop website, as well as interchanges between Social Text Online editors Anna McCarthy, Tavia Nyong’o, and Marie Buck, and between Kelly Baker Josephs and the Caribbean Review of Books editor Nicholas Laughlin. The essays offer brief, compelling histories of the contributors’ respective platforms as they speak to Josephs and Valdés’s prompts, but the discussion also raises distinct questions of representation in digital space. Also in this issue, reviews of  Crossing the Line: Early Creole Novels and Anglophone Caribbean Culture in the Age of Emancipation by Candace Ward, Caribbean Critique: Antillean Critical Theory from Toussaint to Glissant by Nick Nesbitt, Slave Old Man: A Novel by Patrick Chamoiseau, Kitch: A Fictional Biography of a Calypso Icon by Anthony Joseph, and Stolen Time: Black Fad Performance and the Calypso Craze by Shane Vogel. The Poetry and Prose section contains a story by Cynthia James as well as two multi-modal, digital-literature offerings: Urayoán Noel’s “Bagku” and “Cinquain sin quien,” and Joey De Jesus’s “Black Flag.” As SX Salon continues in its role as an innovative and important platform vis-a-vis Caribbean literature and literary criticism, Rosamond S. King will continue in her role as creative editor. To contact, SX Salon, email rlm@smallaxe.net

About the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize

This has been in Opportunities Too for some time, but in case you missed it (I’m posting this on the last day for submissions, which also happens to be Antigua and Barbuda’s Independence Day, November 1st). From the official release: The 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize is accepting entries from 1 September to 1 November 2019. The competition is administered by Commonwealth Writers and is free to enter. The prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words). The five regional winners receive £2,500 each and the overall winner receives a total of £5,000. In addition to English, submissions are accepted in Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil, and Turkish. Stories that have been translated into English from any language are also accepted. The prize is open to citizens of all Commonwealth countries and judged by an international panel, representing each of the five regions of the Commonwealth. The judges for the 2020 prize are: Nii Ayikwei Parkes (Chair), Mohale Mashigo (Africa), William Phuan (Asia), Heather O’Neill (Canada and Europe), Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw (Caribbean), and Nic Low (Pacific). The five regional winning stories are published online by the literary magazine Granta. Past winners of the prize have gone on to win other literary competitions and secure book deals. The overall winner is announced at a ceremony which is held in a different region of the Commonwealth each year. All the regional winners are invited to attend this special event which provides opportunities to network with other writers and engage the media. Janet Steel, Programme Manager of Commonwealth Writers, said: ‘The prize is at the heart of all the work we do at Commonwealth Writers. It’s a chance for new voices to shine from around the Commonwealth and be recognised on a global platform.’ Constantia Soteriou, Cypriot writer and overall winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize, said: ‘I feel honoured and happy to win this amazing prize; it feels like a reward for all the hard work I have been doing over the last eight years, writing about the perspectives of women on the political and historical events of Cyprus. ‘This prize is a recognition for giving voice to those who did not have the chance to be heard before; those who were left behind.’ Those interested in applying can find out more about eligibility, rules, and the submission process [here].

About the Sharjah International Literary Festival

Antiguan and Barbudan writer Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Musical Youth etc. and founder/coordinator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize) is scheduled to be a guest author at the Sharjah International Book Fair.  According to Gulf Today, “The 38th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2019) will be a dream come true for book lovers, with more than 60 international authors and cultural personalities set to participate in the third largest book fair in the world.” This includes American comedian and host Steve Harvey, acclaimed African American author Bernice McFadden (The Book of Harlan, Sugar), and, among others editor of the global anthology New Daughters of Africa UK-based Margaret Busby. Hillhouse will be part of a New Daughters panel and another panel on young adult literature, in addition to a scheduled school visit. We’re sure she’ll report on the experience on her return.

About the Burt Award

This book is the last Burt Award winner, look for it and the other winning titles as Burt Award editions on your book shelves soon. What’s the Burt Award? and is this just a shameless attempt to point you to a post that addresses that very question and highlights all the teen/young adult Caribbean prizes that came out of this contest? Yes… why?

About the V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

I’m not sure if anyone from the Caribbean has won or even been shortlisted for this UK Prize before. No names jump out at me. But one surely did when I checked the long list for 2019. Well, two – Diana McCaulay and her story Picking Crabs in Negril.

Diana McCauley at the launch of her first book Dog-Heart with renowned Jamaican poet Mervyn Morris. (Photo courtesy Diana McCauley)

She is one of 11 finalists for the prize, valued at 1000 pounds. Here are the details. Diana may be known to readers of the blog as we’ve interviewed her and reviewed her Burt award winning book Gone to Drift, mentioned most recently in a post we did on the Burt Award. Congratulations to her on her continued achievements -after becoming a Burt award finalist for a second time this year, with a manuscript shortly to be published by Peepal Tree Press.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, except otherwise noted, this is written by Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, and Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure – Perdida! Una Aventura en el Mar Caribe). All rights reserved. 

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On Bill Burt, the Burt Award (for Caribbean Literature), and the 18 teen/young adult Caribbean fiction titles it produced

Burt-Award-winners-book-covers

Home Homethe beast of kukuyoThe Art of White RosesThe-Dark-of-the-SeaMy-Fishy-StepmomA-Dark-Iris

The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-Frontin

You may not know the name Bill Burt. After all, he was a Canadian commodities broker. But you may know some of the titles above (all Code Burt award titles from the Caribbean). That seal on all but the newest of the pictured titles (This year’s titles are not yet published but the original edition of the winning 2019 title The Unmarked Girl is pictured) is the Oprah’s Book Club seal of teen/young adult Caribbean literature, that little edge, that extra endorsement to help them stand out and perhaps be picked up. It is an endorsement. It indicates that these titles have been tapped by writers, editors, and other literary professionals from the Caribbean and elsewhere who served as judges (refreshed every year), as being among the best new writing from the region in the teen/young adult genre.  It is Bill Burt putting a ring on it.

Accepting Burt Award trophy

That’s Bill Burt, left, above presenting me (Joanne C. Hillhouse) with the first runner up trophy for the inaugural Caribbean Code Burt award, for my then unpublished manuscript Musical Youth, at the 2014 Bocas literary festival in Trinidad.

A trophy. The most substantial single cheque of my creative writing career to that point. An opportunity to be published and to select the publishing house I would be working with from among several options in the Caribbean. A guaranteed order of the books. That was my prize. It was an amazing boost at the time.

Musical Youth and all of the pictured books benefited from someone, who, with the funds he made through this stock market investments, helped amplify stories from typically marginalized communities of which the Caribbean was only one.

Winners ...and #MusicalYouths in their own right ... members of the AGHS winning cast from the secondary schools drama festival collecting copies of Musical Youth.
(above and below, me presenting copies of Musical Youth at local schools)Musical Youth copies 2014 3

The Burt Award, named for Bill Burt and administered by CODE, a Canadian non-profit, stimulated the production of teen/young adult fiction specific to communities whose voices are not often heard in the vast publishing world. He presented the first Burt Award (for teen/young adult African literature), in Tanzania in 2009. The programme subsequently expanded to Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Canada (specifically among First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people), and the Caribbean.

The initial guaranteed order of the winning books was/is distributed to teens and young adults through individuals and institutions that work with youth. If you appreciate that funding is a major hindrance for working artists and for independent publishers, you will appreciate how significant this prize is; if you can appreciate that this was about producing books teens and young adults in the region would WANT to read, you would see how impactful this prize was or could be.

I entered that first year (October 2013 submission deadline), after they had adjusted initial proposed guidelines to accept unpublished manuscripts. I had to print, bind, and FedEx the manuscript from Antigua to Trinidad. I believe the guidelines were adjusted the following year to allow for online submissions but submissions had to be professionally bound in 2013. It wasn’t cheap but it was one of those invest in yourself moments and it was worth it because, thanks in great part to this programme, the book that manuscript birthed, Musical Youth, placed with Caribbean Reads publishing, out of St. Kitts, has become one of my best performing books. I can’t imagine Musical Youth even existing in a Burt-less world, especially given that two weeks out from the deadline I started writing something to submit (which is not the advised way to approach competitions of this nature but is the way this book came to be). Future Burt finalist Shakirah Bourne (of Barbados) who wrote her title (My Fishy Stepmom) in less than a month, blogged recently about how this bit of foolhardiness on my part inspired her (after some disappointments that made her consider not submitting at all):

“Five months later, on October 7th 2017, Antiguan author, Joanne Hillhouse shared the invitation to submit to the 2018 CODE Burt Award on Facebook. Initially I dismissed it. The deadline was October 31st, 24 days later. But Joanne is an amazing blogger and so I checked out her post ‘The BURT Blog – Memories to Keep and a Trophy’ and was amazed to read that she wrote her award-winning book Musical Youth in less than two weeks!”

When I heard this year ahead of the announcement of the last Burt finalists at the Bocas lit fest which administered the prize regionally, that this would be the last year, I wrote back to them “Congrats to the shortlisted writers. Sorry to hear it’s coming to an end. Sorry as well to learn (as I just did in this email) of the passing of Bill Burt. He did a great thing.”

That’s why I’m writing this because Bill Burt did a great thing and we need more people within and without the region to replicate this kind of philanthropy – in fact, one of my dreams for Wadadli Pen is that someday it has the resources to support a writer now and again in the region or maybe even the sub-region, maybe just Antigua and Barbuda, for completion of a project – just give them a financial break for a bit so that they can focus on creating. It’s the kind of help I need and as with Wadadli Pen itself, started because of a void in my experience of anything to nurture and showcase the literary arts in Antigua and Barbuda, I want to be in a position someday to support other artists in the ways that I don’t feel supported today.

Bill Burt’s life at least from his 40s onwards (I think) is a reminder that there is great value in giving if you can, where you see the gaps, simply because it needs to be done.

I know this is running long but I wanted to run through the books and some developments (re the authors’ professional trajectory) certainly in the Caribbean since winning the Burt award. Starting with 2019 (via bocaslitfest) and working back to the inaugural year, 2014, with the hope that you will consider purchasing (sharing, reviewing, recommending) these specifically Caribbean books, which wouldn’t exist as they do (as exciting new titles from Caribbean publishers for the teen/young adult market) without Bill Burt.

The Burt Award will not be accepting submissions from 2020 on; it will be interesting to see if any philanthropic entity steps in to the gap.

2019 titles:
Winning title – The-Unmarked-Girl-Jeanelle-FrontinThe Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin (Trinidad and Tobago), published by Mark Made Group Ltd (which is a Caribbean-based company providing arts and entertainment services of which publishing is only one component) – a quick google suggests that Frontin submitted the first of three ebooks in her YaraStar trilogy; self-published, according to Looptt (which suggests to me that Mark Made is not a traditional publisher but either a vanity or hybrid, paid for their services by the author). That book (already awash with five star reviews on Amazon) and the entire series just got a boost.

The Accidental Prize by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago) – Tamika, a returning finalist, submitted a manuscript which puts this in the to-be-published category. Gibson, also a 2016 finalist for Dreams Beyond the Shore, published by Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books, and named one of 2017’s best contemporary teen reads by Kirkus, said, “What’s phenomenal about the Burt Award is that it’s a direct path to getting your books into the hands of readers. Entering the competition has freed me to focus on writing the best novel that I can, without having to worry too much about the business aspects that come after the book is finished.”

Daylight Come by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica), also a manuscript – Diana is also a previous winner for 2015’s Gone to Drift which has since had an American edition published (2016) with Harper Collins after its initial release with Dominica’s Papillote Press. McCaulay was already an award winning and critically acclaimed author and activist when she first triumphed at Burt and hasn’t missed a step with another non-Burt book published in 2017 (her fourth novel) and Daylight Come forthcoming with, I believe, Peepal Tree press (which is UK based but publishes primarily Caribbean fiction and has been a favourite of the main Bocas prize).

2018 titles:
Winning title – The-Dark-of-the-SeaThe Dark of the Sea by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – also a repeat winner this is his second previously unpublished manuscript to find a home with Jamaica’s Blue Banyan Books after 2015 Burt title Children of the Spider which was published in 2016.  He explains in this linked article how the increased visibility positions him to do more to boost literature in his country even as he continues to work on his next novel and embraces opportunities to travel and present his work (most recently featured at the Edinburgh literary festival)

My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne (Barbados) – manuscript, the Caribbean edition since published by Blouse and Skirt which is an imprint within Blue Banyan. Bourne is an independent filmmaker and self-published author now with a literary agent (I mention that this is the Caribbean edition of the book for just this reason as she also landed the book with an international agent right around the time it was shortlisted for the prize, as she blogs here). For her, there are loads of emerging opportunities (of which being a featured presenter at the 2019 Edinburgh festival is only one).

A Dark Iris by Elizabeth J. Jones (Bermuda) – manuscript, since published by Blouse and Skirt (Blue Banyan Books). You’ll see Tanya Batson-Savage’s Blouse and Skirt and/or Blue Banyan Books on this list a number of times as it has published more Burt Caribbean titles than any other imprint. Specifically, The Dark of the Sea and Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh, My Fishy Stepmom by Shakirah Bourne, The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein, Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell, Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson, Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph, and the very first Burt Caribbean winning title All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele. This means that this independent Caribbean publisher’s list has grown by almost 10 (maybe more by the time this year’s winning books are published) because of this prize’s investment in the region and in the process new voices from across the region (Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bermuda, and Jamaica just from this list alone) are being either heard or amplified. I have had the opportunity to work with Blue Banyan as an editor of one of the named books and can attest to how seriously Tanya takes the job of shepherding these books in to the marketplace.

2017 titles:
Winning title – The Art of White RosesThe Art of White Roses by Viviana Prado-Nunez (Puerto Rico) – this previously self-published novel was described by Kirkus as “An emotional coming-of-age story posed against the backdrop of the Cuban revolution.” It is one of three Burt titles issued by Dominica’s Papillote Press. What’s interesting to me is that Papillote, while not publishing Dominican books exclusively, had, certainly in my mind, been branded as a distinctively Dominican press (a press primarily concerned with stories out of Dominica) – with the publication of three Burt books out of Jamaica, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico in a short three year span, it emphatically broadened its brand to include the wider Caribbean.

Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini (Trinidad and Tobago) – this too is a Papillote book. I actually couldn’t find a lot from Lisa re the publication of the book but she did say this about its genesis on her blog: “The manuscript I first wrote a decade ago and rewrote while in hell in an airport in Suriname in 2016 is now being published as Home Home by Papillote Press, after being named third place in the CODE Burt Awards for Caribbean Literature in 2017. We’re hoping to do a launch at the 2018 NGC Bocas Lit Fest.

Yay!!!”

For a manuscript 10 years in the making, I suspect that “Yay!!!” is only the half of it. And that’s the other thing, some of us write new things, some find a home finally for that manuscript gathering dust because of an industry that makes very little room for voices like ours. ETA: Home Home has landed a deal with Delacorte (Penguin) for release of a US edition due in 2020.

The Beast of Kukuyo by Kevin Jared Hosein (Trinidad and Tobago) – Kevin was actually on quite a roll (with several Commonwealth short story wins, Bocas long listing)  when he placed in Burt so perhaps for him this didn’t change much but it certainly added to his coffers and his publishing credits.

2016 titles:
Winner – Dreams Beyond the Shore Dreams-Beyond-the-Shore-front-lr-190x300by Tamika Gibson (Trinidad and Tobago)

Girlcott by Florenz Webbe Maxwell (Bermuda) – who, per this article, dreamed of being a writer since her days reading the Bobbsey Twins and then of working in publishing, then a librarian only to find that she couldn’t work as a librarian in Bermuda because of segregation. With this book, the first dream is fully realized and she finally gets to tell the little known tale of segregation in Bermuda – and telling our under-told and unknown stories in a way that can enlighten generation now about the past is not a small thing. This is just one review I came across on booktube which contrasts segregation in the US and in Bermuda via Girlcott, indicating that this is a book primed for social studies discussion.
Beautifully Bookish Bethany, who seems to be American, said “(Girlcott is) super interesting… because I actually had never heard anything about Bermuda during the civil rights era… this is from an indie publisher but I really recommend it.”

The Protectors’ Pledge by Danielle Y C Mclean – published by Caribbean Reads
It’s worth noting here that one of the interesting elements of the Burt titles is that they underscore that the Caribbean story is not one thing; we write in different genres of different times and different futures, we have lore that is primed for exploration and expansion, and imaginations not constrained by the perceived tropes of Caribbean literature. There are many other non teen/young adult books that do this of course but if you’re looking for your teen reader you can find romance, adventure, crime, fantasy, coming of age, history, and so much more; just google them (I haven’t linked every book because I don’t feel like linking to Amazon but I have linked to the reviews I’ve written of the ones I’ve read).

2015 titles:
Winner – children of the spider 001Children of the Spider by Imam Baksh (Guyana) – Anansi as you’ve never seen…ze?

Gone to Drift by Diana McCaulay (Jamaica) – a book that draws on the author’s career in environmental advocacy as it weaves a tight rescue tale.

Dancing in the Rain by Lynn Joseph (Trinidad and Tobago) – I haven’t read the published version of this one yet though it is on my book shelf but I did read it when it was a contender for the prize as I was a judge that year. And speaking of telling different stories, this was is not only a Caribbean story but is another story that can be added to the library of books (if such a thing exists) about the fallout from 9/11, existing as it does at the intersection of Caribbean and American life. It’s also about grief as Home Home is about depression, as such tackling the still fairly taboo issue of mental health. These books (the Burt books generally) go there and really should be read not just by Caribbean teens but beyond.

2014 titles:
Winner – all over again - cover FAW 05JUN2013All Over Again by A-dZiko Simba Gegele (Jamaica) who has recently been announced as a Musgrave medal recipient (the equivalent of national awards) for her contribution to the literary arts. She said in the  linked article, “We are still in the very early stages, but there are a lot of fantastic writers right here in Jamaica. Unfortunately, most of them get on a plane and leave in search of greater opportunities for income and exposure. With technology moving the way it is, the good thing is that that is not even necessary any more as we can stay here and enjoy the benefits of these markets. But at a certain level, our work has to be recognised, we need to be taken seriously and it must be recognised that behind every great movie, song, radio or television programme is a good writer.” No lies detected and the Burt award – in fact other Bocas prizes are among the very few opportunities for writer development and reward in the Caribbean. That’s another reason why it’s sad to see it go- especially before another Eastern Caribbean small island writer could come through.

Musical Youth by Joanne C. Hillhouse (Antigua and Barbuda) – that’s me (the previous Eastern Caribbean small island writer that came through) and I would be remiss if I didn’t speak a bit on the opportunities I’ve had to work with the Burt Award and/or Code since being short listed for this prize. I organized and facilitated a workshop in 2014 (in addition to assisting with distribution and promotion of all three Burt titles here in Antigua and Barbuda)

my gift1.jpg

presentation of Colleen Smith-Dennis’ Inner City Girl at Clare Hall Secondary school

Gift to Library

copies to the Public Library at the official launch of Musical Youth

; I was recruited as a judge for the 2015 Caribbean Burt prize; and I was hired in 2017 as a mentor for one of the finalists of the Burt Africa prize. Thanks to Caribbean Reads’ hustle, my book Musical Youth (added to the schools reading lists in Antigua and Barbuda in 2018 and to a reading list in Trinidad before that, with its second and hard cover editions published in 2019)

MUSICAL_YOUTH_Cover_FRONT_Final

new edition released 2019

continues to find new readers (I’ve personally presented it at readings in New York, St. Martin, Anguilla, St. Croix, Barbados, and here at home).

with Muntsa Plana Valls and Auntie Janice and the staff at one of three schools visited

after a school presentation in St. Croix

It has earned accolades from the likes of Oonya Kempadoo (author of Buxton Spice) who said, “I first recognized the weight of her work by the response of the teens to her book, Musical Youth , in the Grenada Community Library. It remains one of the most popular books with teens, despite their tendency to shun Caribbean literature when they have a choice because they are required to read it in schools.”

Inner City Girl by Colleen Smith-Dennis (Jamaica)

Bocas 5

Bocas Photo of finalists panel at the inaugural Code Burt award for Caribbean teen/young adult fiction (photo by Marlon James/original Bocas photographer)

If you’ve never heard of the Code Burt Award, I hope this post helps fill in the blanks and underscores the need for arts philanthropy. Per the Bocas press release announcing the wrapping up of the prize, “This unique literary award programme has inspired Caribbean writers to create fantastic stories; publishers have been supported to build young adult literature into their lists; teachers and librarians have been given fantastic resources; and young readers now have access to more books than ever before.”  I would say that we have always been telling fantastic stories and Burt gave us a platform to get them published while building the publishing infrastructure in the region and targeting the desired audience, ensuring that they, Caribbean teens, have stories they can relate to which also fire their imagination.

As with all content on Wadadli Pen, unless otherwise indicated, this is written by author and Wadadli Pen founder and coordinator Joanne C. Hillhouse. All rights reserved.

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Antigua & Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed X

This picks up where the previous installments of Antigua and Barbuda Literary Works Reviewed pages left off (use the search feature to the right to dig them up). As with those earlier pages, it features reviews about A & B writings that I come across as I dig through my archives or surf the web. You’re welcome to send any credible/professional reviews that you come across as well. They’re not in any particular order, I just add them as I add them; some will be old, some will be new. It’s all shared in an effort to underscore, emphasize, and insist on Antigua and Barbuda’s presence in the Caribbean literary canon.

“In reality, however, much like “Girl,” Party has layers. It functions as a subtle message about what it means to witness horror to such a degree that we lose our language for it; it is a quiet story about coming of age, suddenly, as a young black girl because of what the world shows us. It is about the many words our silence can hold, the way our absences can ring as loudly and discordantly as the words we do feel able to say.” Party review at Lit Hub

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“Published in 2017, the short story ‘The Other Daughter’ by Joanne C. Hillhouse fits the literary movement we call Postmodernism. Postmodernist works can be recognised through themes, context, and narrative techniques. In ‘The Other Daughter’, we notice that the author explores the theme of feeling like an outcast, isolated from the world one lives in, which is often explored in postmodernist stories.

In terms of postmodernist narrative techniques, ‘The Other Daughter’ plays around with the distinction between fact and fiction by letting the narrator tell two different versions of the same story, but at the same time letting the reader know that one version is fictional. Playing around with the ordinary rules of storytelling like this is very typical for postmodern works.” – this is not a review, it is, however, a summary, analysis, themes and messages, and perspectives of elements of the story and its structure at studienet.dk (related: Denmark has included the story as a question in its national assessment for secondary school); read the original story at Adda

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Joanne C. Hillhouse (author and Wadadli Pen founder, coordinator, and blogger) reviews Asha Frank’s Dreamland Barbuda: in her scripted Blogger on Books series

Excerpt: “Dreamland Barbuda is a quick read (very quick, with roughly 2/3s of it being taken up by the bibliography and appendices), and for this time in the history of Antigua and Barbuda, an essential one.”

And in her new vlog series #BookChat #Unscripted

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Carib Plus Lit News (Early October 2019)

This article on homework is part of the Plus in Carib Plus Lit News. It caught my eye because it’s a conversation I’ve been having with a parent (frustrated at the amount of homework children are being given) lately…more than one person actually, but not all of them, parents. The article on salon.com calls for a ban on homework, especially at the elementary (or in our case pre-k and primary level):

“When homework comes prematurely, it’s hard for children to cope with assignments independently—they need adult help to remember assignments and figure out how to do the work. Kids slide into the habit of relying on adults to help with homework or, in many cases, do their homework. Parents often assume the role of Homework Patrol Cop. Being chief nag is a nasty, unwanted job, but this role frequently lingers through the high school years. Besides the constant conflict, having a Homework Patrol Cop in the house undermines one of the purported purposes of homework: responsibility.

What works better than traditional homework at the elementary level is simply reading at home. This can mean parents reading aloud to children as well as children reading. The key is to make sure it’s joyous. If a child doesn’t want to practice her reading skills after a long school day, let her listen instead. Any other projects that come home should be optional and occasional.”

Pictured: children reading right here in Antigua and Barbuda – one at home, and two at the Cushion Club reading club for children.

Read the full salon.com article here.

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“I was astounded when I got the call. It was very unexpected and, as astounded as I was, I was at the same time equally grateful as I never expected to be honoured in this way, considering that very often our artistes are not recognised by their fellow Jamaicans. What it says is thank you and that my work has not been in vain. It also says, despite how rough it gets, people appreciate the time and effort I have put into my work and it has touched their hearts” – Burt Award winning Jamaican author A-dZiko Simba Gegele on becoming one of 10 2019 Musgrave Award winners – the Musgrave Award dates back to 1889 and is the oldest award of its kind in the western hemisphere, according to the Jamaica Observer

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Booker Prize winner Marlon James is no stranger to winning and being in contention for major literary prizes. He’s up for another one: his latest epic novel – the first part of a planned fantasy trilogy – Black Leopard Red Wolf is up for a National Book Award in the fiction category. National in this case is the US and the Jamaican stands a good shot at copping another prize with the critically acclaimed work. red wolfAll nominees listed here.

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University of Belize and East Carolina University are teaming up for an international Caribbean Studies Forum to be held in Belize October 10th to 12th 2019. Venue is the University Center in Belmopan.

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Lulu’s Book Journey is a mother and daughter book blog. Their September Reading Journey (a monthly series on their blog) included Caribbean-themed A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley found her Voice. Their October list, meanwhile, has former Melody Makers member Cedella Marley’s Get up, Stand up, inspired by her dad, reggae superstar, Bob; and her brother Ziggy’s – lead singer of the aforementioned Melody Makers back in the day – I love you Too. The Cuba themed book All the Way to Havana is also in the mix. Speaking of lists, be sure to check out and weigh in on our post about which Caribbean books released in the last 10 years will people still be reading 10 years from now, and the global (America-centric) list that inspired it.

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Barbados-based Montserratian writer, Yvonne Weekes, whose latest release is Nomad, will be speaking at the Norwich Science Fair in the UK later this month at the invitation of the University of East Anglia. Catch her on October 26th 2019, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. She will be reading from both Nomad and earlier book Volcano. A special exhibition on the Montserrat volcano will be unveiled. Open to all.

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Observer 05 07 19 2

This is a July 2019 newspaper clipping from Antigua and Barbuda, but I think it’s still worth posting for the tribunal information.

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Don’t forget to take part in the two just for fun quizzes currently running on the blog – which Caribbean book released in the last 10 years do you think people will still be reading in 10 and the Antigua and Barbuda Independence arts and culture trivia quiz.

Remember, everything on this blog belongs to the blog (Wadadli Pen) or to the respective authors and photographers, no problem with sharing or reblogging but give credit and do not re-post in full. This blog is written by author Joanne C. Hillhouse who is the founder and creator of the Wadadli Youth Pen Prize. For more on her visit jhohadli.wordpress.com 

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What Caribbean Book Released in the Last 10 Years Will You Still Be Reading in 10?

Minus the Caribbean, this was the essence of a question asked recently on Lit Hub: Best of the Decade: What Books Will We Still Be Reading in 10 Years? 

A very small handful of Caribbean books made it on to that list (the main and subsidiary combined):

citizenCitizen: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine who is of Jamaica (haven’t read yet but it’s on my TBR)
create dangerouslyCreate Dangerously by Edwidge Dandicat of Haiti (love! love! love! – see blogger on books review)
killingsA Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James of Jamaica (dug this one as well for the most part – see blogger on books review)

What do you think? Are there any Caribbean books you would add?

Drop them in the comments.

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, its Spanish language edition Perdida! , and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Carib Plus Lit News (Late September 2019)

The Caribbean Writer has announced its Volume 32 prize winnersTCW-Cover-VOL-32-2

Prizes include The Canute A. Brodhurst Prize of $400 for best short fiction; The Daily News Prize of $500 to a resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands or the British Virgin Islands; The Marvin E. Williams Literary Prize of $500 to a new or emerging writer; The Cecile de Jongh Literary Prize of $500 to a Caribbean author whose work best expresses the spirit of the Caribbean; The Vincent Cooper Literary Prize of $300 to a Caribbean author for exemplary writing in Caribbean Nation Language; and The Boyce Literary Prize of $500 to a Caribbean author for a work that best expresses the changing social dynamics of regional life. Not listed is the David Hough Literary Prize which is awarded this year for the final time. See who won. Congrats to the various winners.

Bahamas Post-Dorian; Let’s Talk Climate Change

The Bahamas still needs our help. As we know, it took a pounding from hurricane Dorian

The concern for us in the Caribbean is more than the immediate storms and the aftermath – devastating as that all is – but the ever-rising climate change impacts. Climate change is real – we who feel it know it – and the time for denial is over. Hurricanes have always been with us so believe us when we say (from 2017 on when Irma and Maria laid waste to the region including our own Barbuda) this is different – the frequency, the ferocity, the relentlessness, the heat, the storms, this isn’t normal – or if we don’t act, this will be our new normal and we won’t all survive it.

“We Bahamians listen to climate deniers in rich countries who are oblivious or indifferent to those who bear the weight for their wonderful lives. Meanwhile, the water rises from the ground in our yards because the water table is so high during high tide, and plants we once depended upon no longer grow. We experience too much rain or too little rain, and fresh water supplies are increasingly contaminated by rising sea levels.” Read more of  Hurricane Dorian Makes Bahamians the Latest Climate-Crisis Victims 

The article might make you cry as it gives you a visceral sense of the experience of those trapped on islands besieged by Dorian (another name retired from future Caribbean baby registries), but it also prescribes action and that’s what I wanted to share:

“So we mobilize. We call on the United States to pass the Green New Deal. We donate to groups like Head Knowles*. We consider how to gather volunteers and Bahamian mental health workers to deploy in the coming days. But we need everyone’s help and kindness. We need tarps, tents, sleeping bags, batteries, flashlights, heavy equipment, generators, chain saws, electrical workers and people capable of rebuilding communication towers and homes. We need nonperishable food, wipes, adult and children’s diapers, bug spray.

We need lots of things, but please — no tossed paper towels. This is not funny. Though gracious, Bahamians may toss them back to you.”

Through the Caribbean writers network, I have been informed that the Head Knowles Foundation is a women’s run community organization with hundreds on the ground and a track record – the message provided information on their South Florida drop-off point for those in the area:

Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport:
Headknowles Foundation c/o
Tropix Express
5610 NW 12th Avenue
Suite 203
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
info@tropixshipping.com

The Foundation also has a Go Fund Me for money to assist with the relocation of people who have lost their homes, rescue planes, boats, and cars, and for teams who need to go back and forth from Abaco/Grand Bahama to Nassau to safety. The foundation can supply information about their 501c status etc. if you are a “big donor”.

Caribbean Books Online

Anansesem, the online Caribbean children’s lit magazine, has revamped its online bookstore. It is organized by country (here’s Antigua and Barbuda) Founder Summer Edward wrote on The Brown Bookshelf about the process.

“The most distinctive thing, however, about the new Anansesem Online Bookstore is that it carries only ‘own voices’ books. You may be unfamiliar with the term ‘own voices.’ Coined by Dutch YA author Corinne Duyvis in 2015, it’s a term that’s now widely used in the publishing world to refer to books for which the protagonist and the author share a historically marginalized racial or cultural identity. The need for the term ‘own voices’ as a distinguishing marker arose due to the long history, in traditional publishing, of majority-group authors being given free rein to write books depicting minority group characters, and the equally long history of minority-group writers not being given the same kind of access to tell their own stories…Indeed, there are drawbacks to searching/shopping for Caribbean children’s and YA books directly on websites like Amazon.com. Amazon.com doesn’t tell you which Caribbean CYA books displayed on its search results pages are own voices books. Also, Amazon’s search engine isn’t optimized for finding CYA books from specific Caribbean countries; for example, if you search for ‘Jamaican children’s books’ on Amazon.com, you’ll get a lot of irrelevant results including (for some reason) textbooks (lots of them) and cookbooks. Likewise, if you search for ‘Caribbean children’s books’ directly on Amazon’s website, their search results will show you a lot of CYA books from South and Central America, which while wonderful to know about, aren’t Caribbean books, and thus aren’t what you’re looking for.”

I’ve added the bookstore to the Caribbean Literary Resources page here on the blog. Thanks to Summer for this Wadadli Pen shout out in her article: “Anansesem contributor Joanne C. Hillhouse’s comprehensive blog, Wadadli Pen, was an extremely helpful resource for confirming the nationalities of authors of CYA books related to Antigua and Barbuda.”

As with all content on wadadlipen.wordpress.com, except otherwise noted, this is written by Joanne C. Hillhouse (author of The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, its Spanish language edition Perdida! , and Oh Gad! ). All Rights Reserved. If you enjoyed it, check out my page Jhohadli or like me on Facebook. Help me spread the word about Wadadli Pen and my books. You can also subscribe to the site to keep up with future updates. Thanks.

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Filed under A & B Lit News Plus, A & B WRITINGS, Caribbean Plus Lit News, Links We Love, Literary Gallery, The Business